Book 2: Resurgence.

Series: Light, Water and Muses. An alternate universe for a variety of television series. See disclaimers below.

Rating: PG

Category: Yet another mirror universe for the SGC. Sorta…

Pairings: Darya/Karen.

Disclaimer: Stargate SG1 and all their characters belong to MGM, Showtime and Gekko Productions.

Disclaimer: “ER”, the characters and situations depicted are the property of Warner Bros. Television, Amblin Entertainment, Constant C Productions, NBC, etc. They are borrowed without permission, but without the intent of infringement. This site is in no way affiliated with “ER”, NBC, or any representatives of any cast members. This site contains relationship stories between mature, consenting adult females.

Notes: All words in italics are phonetic foreign words, mostly Greek.

Spoilers: Nope!

Summary: Preparations hit a feverish pitch…

Chapter 5 Feel the… Strength of Metal

++ Janet ++

Earlier, I'd gone upstairs to check in on everyone, because the tension was obvious, even downstairs. Karen had been imperiously shooed off to help set up downstairs while Dare had been hounded into Sam's elaborate bath to get prepped. Davie had appeared without being summoned, retreating after her stressed-out sister with a wise look. I quickly scrubbed up the little apartment where the pups had been living so that it could be used to prep Darya. Thankfully, careful forethought many weeks ago had kept the smells to a minimum. Once I'd disposed of the soiled cloth and plastics, I sprawled out in the oddly deserted living room and listened to the hum of activity around me.

“Janet? Do you have a moment?”

Tessa's hesitant voice was a welcome distraction from nearly dozing off and I climbed to my feet and instantly pulled her into a hug. “Whatever it is, you needed this,” I replied as she started to protest, forcing her to relax slightly. “So what can I do for you, Tessa? I would have thought you'd be getting ready for the ceremony.”

“I could say the same to you,” she retorted, then flushed slightly. “Sorry, that was…” She cleared her throat and the nervousness returned. “I wanted to apologize for my behavior yesterday. It was immature and inexcusable.”

Yes, I'd seen and heard the jealousy aimed at my best friend. A person would have to be dead to have missed it. And I could admit to my anger at her actions. And yet, I understood how she felt. “Your apology is accepted, Tessa. Weddings can be stressful for everyone involved,” I replied, smiling encouragingly at her. “But I do appreciate this. Tell your mistress and Karen that there are no hard feelings from me.”

Before she could do anything more than smile gratefully at me, I heard a frightened yelp and turned to see my beloved Art coming toward me with one of the pups in her arms. I instantly recognized the pup as Calamity Jane, the most accident-prone of the little beasts so far. Jolynne had already said that if she didn't outgrow that soon, the pup would be cut from the MWD program.

“Sorry to interrupt,” Art replied sheepishly. “But Jane's in need of Jan's TLC.”

“What did my little ditz do now?” I crooned, skritching the pup's ears and taking her pudgy weight into my arms. I wasn't an expert with the dogs, but Jolynne had taught me a great deal for treating the pups at home. For some reason Jane had taken a special shine to me. Even now she happily snuggled into my breasts and sighed gustily.

“Caught her tail in the run door, and she wouldn't stop yowling until she got her human momma's loving.”

I grinned broadly and nuzzled into the baby-soft fur. “You are a pain in my ass, Jane my sweet,” I groused playfully. “What am I gonna do with you?” She let out a discordant while as I abruptly plopped her into Tessa's arms, ignoring the tall woman's startled look. “Here you go, Tessa. You help Art get this little ruffian placated and safely into the run and all will definitely be forgiven.”

Art gave me a curious look and I simply smiled and kissed her cheek.

++ Art ++

As Jan sauntered off to the chaos in the kitchen, I turned my gaze back to Tessa and Jane. I watched her silently for a few moments as she got used to the ungainly puppy thrust on her. It had become an ingrained habit that I determined people's worth through their interactions with my dogs. And Tessa was proving my theory in spades. She was rigid with shock and maybe a little fear of the wriggling, whining mass of fur in her hands. Quickly, however, she responded to Jane's eager flirting and the whining pup lick at her face. Then a broad, unguarded smile lit up her face, and I chuckled inwardly. Gotcha. Score one more point for cute little mammals.

“Looks like she likes you,” I said, reaching over to lightly tug on the pup's tail. Good, no reaction. She hadn't hurt herself after all, just scared herself.

“She's a beautiful dog,” Tessa said, finally tearing her eyes off Jane to meet my gaze. “All of your dogs are incredible.”

“Thanks,” I replied, genuinely pleased by the praise. “They're pretty astute judges of character, even this little scamp. If they trust someone, then so do I.” Tessa looked so pathetically grateful at my words, that I decided to try and help her out. So I continued to speak in a deceptively casual tone. “Did you know that Darya and Janet used to be lovers?”

She blinked at me in surprise at the left-field comment. “I… I had no clue…”

“Oh yeah. Many years ago, but it still didn't stop me from hating Dare at first. I don't deny my purely Greek jealous streak, and the fact that she can hit all my buttons.”

Jane calmed in her arms as she absently fondled the puppy's ears. “But you seem like friends…”

“We are now,” I replied honestly. “But it took a lot of work on my part…and just getting to know her. Now? I count Dare as family.” I paused and shifted to catch thoughtful blue eyes again. “Give her a chance, Tessa. She's a great person and one of the funniest and most sensitive people you'll ever meet.”

She nodded and gave Jane another nuzzle before offering her to me. “I'll do that. Thank you, Art. Do you want Jane back?” Her tone was definitely reluctant.

I shook my head, rubbing the sleepy pup's head and grinning at the woman holding her. “No, you can keep her a while. When you're sick of her, come find me.” I turned to leave, but stopped and glanced back at her. “And Tessa? Welcome to the family.”

“Thank you, Art,” she murmured, ever so grateful to me, I could see it in her expression.

++ Tessa ++

It felt strangely right to be petting Calamity Jane, and it certainly was a calming experience. Her little eyes were shut and her paws twitched slightly as she dreamed.

“Is she sleeping?” Came a soft whisper to my left and I forced myself to do no more than flinch slightly. Glancing over, I saw little Emily standing there. Good grief, how had she managed to sneak up on me so silently? There was that strange energy in her eyes again and felt the apprehension kick in once more.

“Yes, she is,” I whispered back. “It's been a busy couple of days for the puppies, hasn't it?”

“They like comp'ny,” Emily said sagely, lightly stroking the soft fur. “I like comp'ny, too.” She turned her gaze back to me and once again I was struck by that seemingly ancient expression. She watched me a long moment, our fingers brushing occasionally as we stroked the sleeping dog's fur. “You sad Kryn's gonna marry Mommy?”

I was stunned at her soft question, and considered lying. But I couldn't betray my promise to Bane. “Yes, I guess I am. Karen and I have known each other for a long, long time. We've always had each other to lean on when we're sad or scared.”

Emily nodded gravely and touched my cheek. “You love Kryn? Want Kryn be happy?”

“Yes, I do,” I replied honestly. “And I can see that you and your mother make her very happy.” I swallowed the lump in my throat. “Emily, I want to apologize for something, okay? I'm sorry that I made you and your mom sad yesterday. I just… I got scared that Karen would never have any time to talk to me or be my friend anymore, and I got jealous.”

“Ahh,” came her sage response and then I saw the shy smile fill her eyes. “Mommy says sharing is good. We share Kryn? Then nobody's scared. 'Kay?”

I was openly relieved by the innocent candor and acceptance, and found myself blinking back sudden tears. “I'd like that very much, Emily. I can see why Karen is so proud of you. You are a very smart girl.”

She beamed at my praise and leaned up to kiss my cheek. “You like Kryn's sister, so you be my Aun' Tessa? I don't have an Aun' Tessa.”

This time, I didn't bother to hide the tears, and I pulled her into a one-armed hug, pressing a gentle kiss to her forehead. “I would be honored to be your Aunt Tessa, Emily.”

++ Davie ++

Thankfully, the household had settled into mere chaos, not that brittle-tense storm of the morning, and the afternoon flew by. While the Dinkys tended to Dare, it fell to me to dress my niece for the wedding. Oh, who was I kidding? I'd happily volunteered for the job! I could never spend enough time with Emily, especially when she was still young and innocent. The last time I'd been able to spend any time with her had been Emma's funeral, and my duties fell largely to helping my sister survive the crushing blow.

Nearing the nursery, I could hear Emily's distinctively high-pitched chatter through the partially open door. I was surprised that the twins would still be in the room, as I'd thought Janet was dressing them out in the RV. “An' I look like Kryn. You will like Kryn, Mimi. She helps Mommy an' me an' keeps us safe.”

Just as I went to push the door open, I got a sudden tingle down my spine, the hair at the nape of my neck standing on end. It was almost like someone had walked across my grave. I hadn't had that particular sensation in quite a while. Long enough that I could fool myself into believing I hadn't inherited Yaya's more unique sensitivities. Emily looked up at me with a broad smile. She was sitting on Fawn's bed, fingers carefully stroking the outfit laid out on the bed next to her. Again, that tingling sensation hit when I realized she was alone in the room, but I tried to shrug it off. “Who are you talking to, Emily?”

She looked past me out the door, an almost guilty smile on her face. “Mimi. Mommy gets sad when I talk 'bout Mimi. You 'member Mimi?”

Oh I remembered Mimi. That had been Emily's name for Emma. No wonder Dare got upset when Emily used that name for her imaginary best friend. Then again, this imaginary best friend had first surfaced not long after Emma had died. “Yes, I remember Mimi. It's been a long time since I last heard you talking about her.”

“She says she miss you an' you look pretty.”

“Well, thank you, Mimi,” I replied, fighting back the shiver again. “But right now, we have to get Emily dressed for the wedding.”

Emily was very helpful and less fidgety than I'd expected as I dressed her in the little tuxedo that matched Karen's. She even sat patiently for me while I combed her curls up into a ponytail at the crown of her head. But she adamantly refused the shoes.

“No shoes, Aun' Davie,” she pouted, stamping one sock-clad foot. “Have boots like Kryn. Kryn hafta put them on for me.”

I knew her aversion to wearing clothes in the first place, and was elated that she'd let me dress her so easily. And then I remembered the boots we were all wearing for the ceremony. “Do you mean there are boots for you, too?” I asked, knowing full well that she'd only agree to wear shoes if they made her look just like her Kryn.

“Yes,” she replied, as if I should have known. “But wanna have Kryn put them on. Please, Aun' Davie?”

“Kryn did say she wanted to see you in your tuxedo.” I fought back the amused chuckles as she scrambled off the bed, boots in hand, and before I could stop her, she went tearing out of the room.

++ Karen ++

“So remind me again why I got roped into a tux?” I asked sullenly, yet I felt the secret thrill zip through me as I stared at the suit hanging on the door in front of me.

“Because you can't say no when Dare gives you that pouty face,” Art simpered and batted her eyelashes mockingly, looking properly unashamed as I fixed her with that look. Didn't faze her in the slightest, dammit. “And because she didn't want you to be uncomfortable in your Class A's. That, and I suppose we all oughtta match, huh?”

I reached out a tentative finger to trace along the edge of the lapel, trying to picture myself in the deep charcoal material. “So, Goldston,” I started.

“So, Taylor,” she mimicked back, smirking.

“Pain in my ass,” I muttered, making her laugh. Clearing my throat, I looked at her. “How, um… How did you know Janet was the right one?”

Art appraised me for such a long moment, I felt like one of her dogs. “Jeez, ask the easy questions, why don't you,” she groused sarcastically and then sobered, her mind casting back. It was fun to watch the memories parade across her expressive face. “Hmmm… I know. It was the night we got together. She'd watched me play the guitar for Cassie, and I tried so hard to pour my heart out in the notes. Then I thought she was rejecting me, but Cooper, bless his big heart forever, had snuck off to Cassie's room and I was trapped there. It gave Janet enough time to recover from the misunderstanding and persuade me to stay.” God, did I get that same sappy look on my face when I talked about Dare? The foolish grin tugging at the corners of my lips was answer enough. “She trapped my heart that night, all brash energy and soft shyness.” Shaking herself out of the memories, Art grinned at me. “Besides that, I really like Janet, she's smart and funny and tough, and a joy to be around. Except at work.” Now I had to laugh, letting out the smile that had been tugging at me. After a moment of revelry, Art sobered, looking at me for a long moment. “When did you first know you loved Darya? I don't mean lusted after her, either. I mean loved her.”

“The night she told me about Em's death,” I said softly, remembering that night fondly. “It was the same night we first kissed. By the time that simple little kiss was over, I was so completely head over heels, it wasn't funny.”

“No second thoughts?”

I shook my head. “Hell no! Even when we we're having problems, she's all I want.”

Again, I was pinned by her intense stare. “You'd have left the service for her, huh?”

“In a heartbeat, if she'd needed me to. Still would.”

“Then you'll be fine, Karen. This is exactly how you're supposed to feel.”

Before I could say anything else, a familiar voice broke up the moment.

“Kryn!” Came Emily's screech from the hallway. “Kryn, look!”

I was at the door before she'd finished the first word, and threw it open to find Emily standing there, grinning broadly. She was dressed in a little tux that was an identical match to mine, her pale curls pulled up in a little ponytail and boots cradled carefully in her arms.

“Oh my god,” I breathed. “Monkey, you look wonderful.” Scooping the girl up in my arms, I noticed Davie coming toward us.

“My boots, too, Kryn,” Emily crowed, squirming in my arms. “Want you to put on, please?”

Davie shot me a pleading look and I couldn't help the grin spreading wider across my face as I settled Emily on the bed to put her boots on quickly. I arranged the little lacy trim of her socks to hang over the tops of her little biker boots, then stood and took a step back to motion toward Art with my chin. “What do you think, Goldston? She look good enough for the wedding?”

Art studied her for a long minute. “That's not really Emily, is it? This little girl has too many clothes on to be Emily,” she teased in a deadpan.

“Unca Art, no tease! Is me!” Emily replied, stomping her little foot. “Kryn, tell Unca Art is me.”

None of us adults could stop the laughter at that point, and I scooped my stepdaughter up into my arms again with a big kiss on her cheek. “Thanks, Davie. She looks wonderful.”

“Think nothing of it, Karen,” she said, walking over to pull the two of us into a loose bear hug, then press her lips lightly to Emily's forehead. “And now, if you don't mind, I'm going to go check on the bride and her entourage. I think it's probably getting close to time for that nervous breakdown now,” she smirked and winked at me as she left.

++ Sam ++

I snuck almost guiltily into the master bedroom, ignoring the unfamiliar items that belonged to the Lady Rogers. It was such a strange title, but it truly suited her. In the huge closet were the bags I was after, and I slipped back out again.

In the bedroom across the hall, I was greeted by Karen and Art's smiles. “Okay, Sammy-girl, let's get dressed.”

I felt shy beneath Karen's quiet gaze, as I stripped to skivvies and yanked on the gray slacks, fancy soft green silk shirt and thin black leather vest that we were all wearing. That was Karen's perverse personal touch to the tuxes. She hooked up the tie herself, but lightly slapped my hand away from the jacket. Imagine my shock when those striking green eyes bored seriously into mine. “Hey, Sam, we've known each other for a damn long time.”

“Yes,” I hesitated.

“I need a weird favor from you.”

She sounded… hesitant. It was kinda funny, actually, and I found myself grinning. “Oh yeah?”

“My sister couldn't make it, you know that, but she sent me a couple… props.”

Several kinky things ran through my head, and Art snerked behind me, but we stayed on topic. “And?”

Turning suddenly, Karen pulled a heavy, and well-loved leather motorcycle jacket from a big box. There were intricate chess and playing-card motifs on the back, and a tangle of chains hung from the left epaulet. “I know it's weird for a wedding, but please Sam, you look a lot like her and it would mean a lot to me.”

Like I was going to say no. “I'd be honored. Is that why you wanted me to bring my motorcycle boots?”

“Yep. And why I went to the expense to get Art a pair.”

“I feel so butch,” Art mocked as she stomped her feet into the aforementioned boots and admired them. I took the jacket, noting the small of musky leather and the stranger who normally wore it, and slipped into the heavy folds.

“Cool,” I grinned, surprised that it fit so well.

“Looks great,” Karen agreed mistily and I impulsively wrapped her in a hug.

“I'm really sorry she couldn't be here.”

“Yeah, me too, but we'll send lots of pictures, right?”

++ Father Phineas Goldston ++

I stood there, glad to be off the military plane. Nothing against my sister or her chosen profession, but I had no idea how she could handle riding on these rumbling, rattling death traps. But I couldn't say no to officiating this ceremony. Unfortunately, I'd been unable to fly out with Cory and the kids, as I'd had a funeral to preside over. Hence my 'luxury' flight from LA. Shuddering, I grabbed my two bags when one of the airmen offered them and trotted away from the damned plane.

“Father Goldston?” The light baritone came from a vaguely familiar man waiting beneath the building's overhang. He was dressed warmly for the cold and wearing a uniform cap.

“Yes, that's me. And you're Major Davis if memory serves me correct.” I greeted, extending my hand to be shaken warmly. He eyed me curiously, his gaze trailing up and down my body, and I couldn't help a self-conscious chuckle. “The fatigues?” When he nodded, I chuckled. “A gift from my sister. From her…experiment? She thought I could put them to good use since they no longer fit her.”

A broad grin split his face at my explanation and he clapped a hand against my shoulder. “They look good on you. And a wise choice given your mode of transportation. Come on then, they'll be wondering where we are. And I certainly don't want to get your sister-in-law angry with me. She has a rather wicked sense of humor…”

“Lead the way,” I replied, pulling my garment bag and backpack up onto my shoulders. “I certainly wouldn't mind a few minutes of quiet to prepare before the ceremony.”

We made our way to Art and Janet's house in relative silence. Once there, I found myself at the front door of a beautiful old house that would have made Yaya weep with the possibilities of a huge garden and rooms to fill with many, many great-grandchildren. That I was going to be reunited with my siblings for the first time since we'd almost lost Art, I was beside myself with delight. Barely able to knock, I suddenly found myself tackled from behind into the snowy bushes next to the door. Spluttering, I heard a very familiar laugh and chuckled. “Cassie, if you want to live to see your next birthday…” I half-heartedly warned.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah, Uncle Fin,” she replied with a giggle. “It doesn't scare me when Art threatens me. Why should I be afraid of you?” She stood and helped me up, then noticed my bags on the ground and Major Davis standing behind me. “Oh shit! I didn't ruin your clothes, did I?” And then she realized her swearing and flushed. “Sorry. Don't tell my mom, okay?”

I picked up the bags and shook my head at her. “You're safe… this time.” I wrapped her in a hug. “So how's life treating you, kiddo?” I asked as she led me into the house. “Are my other niece and nephew keeping you out of trouble?”

“They try,” she replied, closing the door behind us. “Um, Major Davis, sir, did you want to know where anyone in particular is now?”

“I think I'm going to head out to the tent to see how things are going out there,” he replied. “I assume the General and the rest of SG1 are out there?”

“The last I knew, they were. Uncle Jack might still be getting dressed, but I think everyone else from the base is out back by the tent.”

He nodded and headed out through the house. I looked at Cassie again, just about to say something when a small burst of energy blasted into my leg. “Uncle Fin! You're here! Bahbas, he's here!” I found myself neatly tackled again, this time by my ten-year-old nephew, Chris. And then my brother and the rest of his little clan came out of the kitchen.

Yasoo, Fin,” Cory replied with a broad grin. “Come taste this and see if it's spiced right.” He dragged me off into the kitchen after Cassie took my bags and headed off down the hall in the other direction.

I caught up with what had been going on in wedding central and sampled enough Greek food to choke the great Alexander's army. And suddenly, strong arms were wrapped around my waist from behind with a barely murmured, “glad you could make it, Fin.”

“You think a little snow could keep me from seeing my family again?” I replied, turning to look at Art. “My goodness, but you clean up nicely, Artemis,” I teased as I took in the gray tuxedo, black kidskin vest and baby-leaf green shirt. “Do the bride and groom look this good? Or are you going to show 'em up at their own wedding?”

“No, I won't,” she replied, punching me in the arm. “Did you just get here? Do you need to change yet? Do you want to talk to Dare or Karen at all?” The questions came out in an excited-yet-exhausted jumble.

“Slow down, mia Adelphi (my sister),” I chuckled. “You're going to pass out if you're not careful. Yes, I just got here. I've got a bit before I need to get dressed. And yes, I should at least introduce myself to Karen and Darya again. And probably go over any last minute changes to the ceremony with Darya and Davie. But that can wait for a few minutes. I'd rather just relax a bit with all of you. Was Zo able to get out of that seminar?”

“No, her flight's scheduled to come in around three AM, if that storm front holds off,” came Art's sullen reply. “She couldn't find anyone else to run the damn thing and it has something to do with her dissertation.”

“Well, she'll be here before we have to fly back to LA, so it's okay.”

++ Xavier ++

For the most part, I was content to let the womenfolk cluck and preen and carry on. I was mostly the referee, yanking someone out of the fray if I felt it necessary, or tossing out my opinion here and there. Frankly, I had done enough work with everyone's wardrobes. As distraction, I had produced a pack of cards and was now entertaining Kerry with a few rounds of blackjack. I felt bad for how uncomfortable she seemed and was determined to be good company.

“Hit me,” Kerry said and I took my attention away from my old school pals and slapped down another card. “So. How do you all know each other?”

Dare snorted where she was standing, trying to withstand Kim tugging the laces of her over-shift snug. “It's a long story.”

“So,” Kerry shrugged. “We're not going anywhere anytime soon.”

Ah, that was our fiery dictator of the Emergency Room. It was good to see her stepping out of timidity and back into her usual strong personality.

“Touché,” Janet chuckled where she stood mostly still beneath Davie's ministrations. “My dad was an instructor at the Naval Academy, just south of Baltimore, Maryland. Dad was never real happy with me being his only child. So he shipped me off to a snotty private prep school in Bethesda when I was fourteen.”

“And my folks had just moved there,” I chimed in. “From Oakland, California. Damn east coast winters. They thought I was too smart for ordinary school and moved to Maryland to send me to the same snotty, private prep school.”

We all chuckled and Janet continued on. “So Xavier, with his funny name and west coast background, was a pariah. So was I, because I was from the outside. If you think normal kids are cruel, rich, snotty ones are a thousand times worse. So X and I were the best of friends, boyfriend, girlfriend and the whole thing.”

“And both me and Dare transferred there junior year,” Legs chimed in, tugging and primping at Darya. “It was instant chemistry and we four were inseparable through high school and college. We didn't really start to loose track until graduate school. Air Force in the Shrimp's case.”

“So,” Kerry mused. “You joined the Air Force to spite your father?”

We all howled at that one.

++ Kerry ++

They were a fun bunch, but I still felt like an outsider. Thank goodness X was keeping me company! He had been a terrific pal, even having only been at the hospital for ten days before this strange weekend. It was also satisfying to see the end result of all of his hard work. The man had been slaving away on Darya's elaborate dress for weeks. I had seen the tail end of the project, and greatly enjoyed watching his sensitive surgeon's hands crafting the beautiful costume.

What was particularly astonishing was that he had done it completely by eye. Even more so, was that the dress was a flawless fit. And he swore he hadn't seen Darya in years! It was an elaborate robe-like dress that fit over a thin undershift. Rich brocade fabric, intricately stitched, flowed like a second skin over Darya's slender frame, making the undershift seem fragile and diaphanous. Both pieces were done in warm creams, the darker tones hesitating towards pale rose and orange. The other women were in shades of pleasant greens. It succeeded in the 'flower amidst foliage' theme Xavier had tried to explain to me back in Chicago.

“Yep,” Kim announced smugly as she tugged the last seam into place and eyed Darya critically. “All those years of making Renaissance Costumes certainly paid off, X. this one is even better than the last one.”

The room went still.

I had only been given a rough outline of what had happened to Darya's first wife, but I could still sympathize with her. The woman sighed heavily and Kim winced like she'd swallowed broken glass. “Jeezus Dare, I'm an ass.”

“It's okay, Kim. You're right. It is an even nicer dress than last time. I had my freak out yesterday, I think I'm actually doing pretty decent right now. It helps that you all are here.”

More than one eye was damp and the four friends huddled in a big dogpile of a hug. It warmed my heart to witness the deep bond.

“Okay,” Darya finally said, leaning away to look fondly at her friends. “Let's do this.”

To Be Continued…